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Posted by on Dec 1, 2009 in At TMV | 17 comments

GDP Growth — The Never Ending Idiocy

Almost any news report about the economy these days will contain some variant of the following phrase: “GDP numbers show the economic recovery has begun, but its effects have not yet trickled down.”

Read this over carefully. Think about it. Hard. Because it pretty much explains the fundamental problem with our current economy, and by the way, why in a real sense an economic recovery hasn’t really begun.

If the GDP has in fact increased and its effects have not “trickled down,” it must mean that the extra wealth created is stuck at the top of the economic system. A relatively few individuals and institutions have gotten the increase, in other words, while the rest of us are still waiting for the trickle.

That might not be so bad if it were just a temporary aberration. It isn’t. Spreading the wealth in this country equitably stopped decades ago. The middle class and people less well off have seen little or no improvement in their own actual wealth — even a loss of wealth. The reason this was not apparent for a number of years was that borrowing by the trickle-hungry citizenry allowed greater spending temporarily, which made it seem that most peoples’ standard of living was increasing when it was only their debt that was growing, while the top rungs of the economy were the only ones actually pulling in increases.

That’s the economic system both Democrats and Republicans have fashioned for us over the years. A system being promoted so aggressively these days by Goldman’s Boy, Tim Geithner at Treasury. And it’s also a system that the press continues to abet by repeating endlessly that an increase in national wealth, an increase in the GDP, is a positive thing that just “hasn’t trickled down yet” — as if it inevitably will — which as the history of the past few decades suggests (as Henry Ford might have opined) “is bunk.”

One other thing might be noted about the recent increase in GDP, first reported as 3.5 percent and just a week or so back modified to just 2.8 percent in the last quarter. Either number if terrible. Absolutely terrible.

If after the government of the United States has sunk literally trillions of borrowed or printed dollars, directly or indirectly, into pumping up the economy, and only gotten a pathetic 2.8 percent increase in the GDP out of this investment, and if even this titanic sum to achieve this piddling result is no guarantee there will be future GDP increases any time soon, then what we have here might better be described as rouging a corpse not priming a pump.

Ah, well. It appears that at least we’ll have more years of bad news from our endless national craving for war fighting in exotic lands to provide distractions from the coming bad economic years generated as much by GDP idiocy among policy makers as flamboyant greed by these policies’ beneficiaries.

GDP numbers are really just the official rationale-cum-excuse for an inherently flawed and failed national economic policy. And until GDP growth begins to be allocated fairly, that how these numbers should be viewed.


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